Hospital x-ray decision delayed again

By David LennardCAMPAIGNERS have voice their frustration at yet another delay in getting new x-ray equipment installed at their town's hospital.For the past five years the League of Friends at the Patrick Stead Hospital in Halesworth has been urging health bosses to install modern x-ray equipment there.

By David Lennard

CAMPAIGNERS have voice their frustration at yet another delay in getting new x-ray equipment installed at their town's hospital.

For the past five years the League of Friends at the Patrick Stead Hospital in Halesworth has been urging health bosses to install modern x-ray equipment there.

The group has managed to put aside £150,000 to help pay for the new equipment that would serve not only people living in the Halesworth area, but also those from Beccles, Bungay and Southwold.

The East Anglian Daily Times reported in November last year that Waveney Primary Care Trust would not commit itself to updating the x-ray equipment at Halesworth hospital.

The trust said it was undertaking a major review of health service provision in the area, which was due to be completed in February or March 2004, and would only then make a decision.

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Representatives of the league of friends met with trust chief executive, Andy Evans, and other senior health service leaders yesterday to press for the new x-ray equipment.

League of friends chairman, Les Hills, said: “It was an extremely positive meeting, but unfortunately we are no further forward in getting our new x-ray unit.

“Mr Evans told us that he is currently carrying out a full review of the role of our community hospitals and that he could not make a major decision on the x-ray unit at this time.

“The chief executive was able to assure us that the community hospitals had an important role to play in the future health care of the area.

“We were encouraged by what he had to say, but we cannot deny that it is frustrating not getting the go-ahead for the x-ray unit.”

A trust spokesman said the review was now likely to be completed by July, when there would be a period of public consultation on its findings.

In the meantime the league of friends has pledged to continue to campaign for the new x-ray equipment to be installed in Halesworth.

“We have had marvellous support for our campaign for a new x-ray unit at Halesworth from town and parish councils in the area and our local councillors,” said Mr Hills.

“This is a very important issue for people living in the Halesworth area. The league of friends is aware that at least 400 patients a year from the area have to travel to Ipswich, Norwich or Gorleston for x-rays.

“Elderly people in particular find it difficult travelling to the larger hospitals for x-rays and we want to see as many treatments and procedures as possible carried out locally.”

However, one of the consequences of any delay is the rising cost of x-ray equipment.

“In the past two years alone the cost of installing modern x-ray equipment has rocketed, so we want a decision made as quickly as possible,” said Mr Hills.

“The more people that take part in the consultation process, the better as it will help us get the facilities we so badly need.”

david.lennard@eadt.co.uk

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